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Sports News of Thursday, 29 July 2021


Crystal Palace boss Vieira impressed by Ghana prospect Rak-Sakyi

England-born of Ghanaian descent Jesurun Rak-Sakyi England-born of Ghanaian descent Jesurun Rak-Sakyi

England-born of Ghanaian descent Jesurun Rak-Sakyi has earned praise from Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira after impressing in a pre-season friendly fixture.

Largely a member of Palace's academy side, the 18-year-old was on target in what ended in a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic on Wednesday.

He was deployed on the right-wing in the starting XI, alongside academy colleague Malachi Boateng, another England-born player of Ghanaian descent.

"I think what was really important today was improving from our last game," Vieira told Palace TV.

"I think tonight gave us an opportunity to see some of the young players from the Academy. And I learned a lot from them today. Some of them showed character, desire to compete at this level and that was the positive side of the game today.

"Jes [Jesurun] showed a lot of desire and he got rewarded by the goal. He showed fantastic talent - he’s been working with us for quite a while now. He’s one of the young players who shows that he’s excited to be around the first team.

"I want this kind of spirit from these young players, showing determination and today he and some of the other ones did really well."

Last season, Rak-Sakyi came close to making his competitive senior fixture for Palace as he made the bench for Premier League matches against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

That was after he signed his first professional deal at Selhurst Park.

"The performance [2-2 draw] is massively important because winning games and scoring goals gives you confidence," Vieira remarked.

"As well I think tactically the football we tried to play allowed me to see how players understand what I ask them to do and we are getting there.

"It’s always difficult when you manage to have a couple of [first-team] players and a lot of young players from the Academy to find the right balance.

"But I’m quite satisfied with where we are tactically. There’s a really good understanding from the players about what I want and now we have all the players available to perform."

Rak-Sakyi was born to Ghanaian parents in the UK, and, thus, remains eligible to represent the West Africans.